Defense options

Lombardi and Hextall made it clear at the GM breakfast that the Kings are still actively pursuing a veteran defenseman. From what I’m hearing, those talks could get particularly intense this week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a deal get done.

The names? Anaheim’s Mathieu Schneider is one the Kings are seriously considering. Other names under consideration would be San Jose’s Kyle McLaren, Florida’s Karlis Skrastins, Nashville’s Greg de Vries, St. Louis’ Jay McKee and Pittsburgh’s Darryl Sydor. There’s one more name out there that might surface as a real option in the next couple days, but as always these talks are pretty fluid.

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  • JDM

    Thanks Rich! The fact that 4 days after the fact you are still posting tidbits and quotes and such from the breakfast is awesome and we all appreciate your dedication to giving us every last bit of info you have.

    Personally I would like almost any of those guys from that list. Greg de Vries or Skrastins might be the best fit in many ways. Both would probably come really cheap and be the most willing to play bottom pairing minutes. Then again, I would absolutely love to have Schneider back, having been horribly upset when he left.

  • Tim


    Thanks so much for the time and effort that you put into this blog!

    McKee, would be a outstanding fit! Big, tough, and had the best plus-minus for the blues last year!

    His paycheck may be a little much, but for a year, or maybe 2 to help out some of our young guys… Maybe the toughness alone might be worth it to keep players like Ryan Smyth from running our goalies.

  • KingFan4ever

    de Vries and Skrastins are younger but personally I’d rather get Schneider back. He’s 40 years old but he would be perfect help quarterback the PP. Last year he had 39 pts (12/27) with a plus/minus 22. Right around what Lubo produced and way better than Rob Fake’s numbers.

  • Cutty Sarkn3ss

    Thanks for all your latest posts Rich.

    Anyone but Sydor is fine with me. . . I’m not to high on McKee but whatever. Schneider or McLaren would be cool

  • Quisp

    In order to get some work done this week, I vow only to check this blog once an hour.

  • Maverick

    Anyone of those other than Sydor and I am happy with our team. Do it Deano!

  • JDM

    Quisp –

    I heard on the radio this morning that fantasy football loses business some 500 million bucks a year in lost labor from people checking their teams at work for an average of like 10 minutes per day. The host said 10 minutes a day was a lot.

    I thought, damn, this website eats a lot more of my and I imagine all of yours time than just 10 minutes a day!

    Our combined lost productivety must be astronomical! But ultimately, well worth it!

  • Anonymous

    That would be my order out of these guys….

    1. Schneider
    2. McKee
    3. Skrastins
    4. De Vries
    5. Sydor

  • Quisp

    JDM –

    That’s assuming of course that, if there wasn’t fantasy football, workers wouldn’t just switch over to solitaire or whatever other non-work typing/clicking they prefer.

    Ten minutes a day! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. [picture Yosemite Sam, where he starts out laughing but ends up crying…]

  • Quisp

    Also, notice it’s only been 18 minutes since my last comment. Didn’t quite make it to an hour…

  • m

    I don’t really want to see Schneider back.
    The guy is even older, slower, and had the knack for 3rd period penalties than when he was here.
    Sure, he has a good shot from the point, but I don’t think he’d improve the defensive zone as much as McKee would.

  • jediknight329


    some pretty funny posts. i check this site at work about everytime i check my work e-mail – every hour or so. that’s 10-12 times a day (yikes i’m at work way too much). my wish list is exactly what “anonymous” posted above, but i would ditch sydor and add mclaren instead.

    rich… i find it amazing that as many times per day i check and sometimes post to this site, that you continually add new, updated messages and info. your a workhorse. i, along with many angelenos, thank you.

  • Don’t Get Hurt

    Skrastins won’t get hurt probably so I’d bring him in.

  • Gabby

    Anyone else curious about the mystery defenseman that Rich didn’t mention? Who is it???

  • JDM


    my fault… who can resist a direct response… but then again, you checked. Your weak! Just like me…

    The worst thing that ever happened to me was a blackberry with internet on it… though it is great when sitting in traffic to sit there and read comments… so safe too =P.

    When I procrasticate on something I have a tendency to continutally refresh this and a few other sites. I probably check my email half as much as I check this website.

    jedi – I agree with removing Sydor and adding McKlaren. I’ve always been a big fan of McKlaren. Having him would certainly put a little fear in other teams about messing with our goalies or tiny guys. I really don’t remember watching or more correctly noticing McKee so much. From what I read he sounds like a great fit, contract and all. I think I missed nearly every game against St. Louis last season for random reasons. Those who have noticed him, what do you think of him?

    Also, any speculation as to the “one more name out there that might surface as a real option in the next couple days”?

    My best guess would be Frankie Kaberle How great would it be though to fleece Dallas of Boucher somehow? I don’t know who is on the trading block elsewhere, but maybe Sutton? Or Ohlund? Who else fits the bill?

  • BBanzai

    i dont like the idea of giving our cross town rival “Anything”. And for all thats mentioned above about his age and slowness. As For Dmen we need a Stay at home D-first guy. If we wanted a pp specialist we should have kept lubo.

  • dave fouser

    that’s a pretty underwhelming list to choose from. and the fact that (in my view at least) the kings need TWO of those players only highlights how dire this team’s defensive situation is. i sure hope lombardi can pull a rabbit out of his hat…

  • Tim

    McLaren, to me has always been slow, and soft for his size. He does show signs of being a all-star, however, he’s never brought it every night.

    McKee, even though he only played 66 games last year, he was one of 2 that was in the plus side of things, and when your on a “losing” team to me that shows something. I also read that he had a blocked shot in 59 of 66 games. Not bad, but also lead to his broken foot.

    Sydor, Schnieder, and De Vries… PLEASE NO!

  • Chewy Rocky Horror


  • Rusty

    There’s one more name out there that might surface as a real option in the next couple days, but as always these talks are pretty fluid.

    Right there! That’s how stupid rumors get started. Based on that one sentence the name of every d-man over 30 is going to be bandied about and dissected over on LGK.
    I bet last month some knucklehead (not you, Rich) pointed out that the Kings had cap space and needed a goaltender, next thing you know – BAM – Kopitar is headed to Chicago.
    Rich, I love your stuff but if you’re going to speculate, at least put a name to it. If you’ve been sworn to secrecy by an inside source, then be secret. Otherwise you’re just engaging in journalistic teasing and I’ll have to wade through Brown and a pick rumors until training camp.

  • jet

    Maybe Aucoin. He would come cheap with his big contract and could also fetch more at the deadline. he does have a NTC, but look who he is playing for. I think he might waive it.
    Got to go, I see Quisp in my rear view mirror.

  • Duckhunter

    Love Schnieder, but 5-6 for one year is to steep.

    No to Sydor.

    Skrastins, don’t know anything about him.

    I agree McLaren is to slow and a little soft at times.

    I feel we need two also, so that leaves McKee and De Vries. I am basing De Vries on how tough he played the Kings back when we were in the playoff a few years ago. So he has probably slowed a lot since then.

  • gary

    Congrats on being a hockeybuzz source!!!!

    hahaha… sold your soul to the devil did ya Rich?

  • Rich Hammond

    Wow, you’ve got to be kidding me. That’s just completely shameless on his part.

  • Captain Material

    I like Skrastins and McKee. Skrastins is very underrated. He’s not an all-star or anything, but he can play tons of minutes being defensively responsible and has a history of durability.

    However, based on what we actually need in this guy as far as role goes, I have to think Schneider is the best option. He can provide an unquestionable veteran presence for the kids and bring offense. McKee and Skrastins I would think better choices if we already weren’t stocked up with physical defenders.

    McLaren is good, but he has the knocks against him that seem exactly the kinds of things this team doesn’t want to risk (basically he’s undermotivated/underachieving).

    I have a personal bias against Sydor and have never really been a fan of DeVries, so maybe I don’t give those guys enough credit. With Sydor though, trying to be objective, he played well on one team for one coach and that’s about it. He’s been in decline ever since leaving Dallas and being under Hitchcock (who was his junior coach btw and was the guy who moved him from forward to D I believe).

  • Captain Material

    “Congrats on being a hockeybuzz source!!!!”

    The dolt credits Rich as “an LA source”. Idiot spends so much time just making up things when he actually has a legit source for info he doesn’t even know how to properly credit it. “An LA source”…yeah, as opposed to all those voices in his head he normally fabricates info from.

    “Love Schnieder, but 5-6 for one year is to steep.”

    Yeah, I mean especially when we are already bumping up against the cap…floor.

  • Duckhunter

    Cap Material,
    I’m taking that last remark as sarcasm, even though I’m not smart enough to know for sure. I feel we need two guys to help us on the blueline, and not one for 6 million a year. As you say in many of you’re posts, will he be a guy that really matters? Is he going to be around for than 1 year? How much will he really bring to the table for a year at 5-6 a year. Will he push us over the top or will he be here to mentor. If he’s able to push us over the top, bring him in and pay him. If he’s mainly a mentor and PP guy, 5-6 is way to much, no matter how hard we’re pushing the cap….floor.

  • rob

    Go after hockeybuzz for plagerizing you

  • Captain Material


    Yeah, that was sarcasm. I kind of see the “does he matter” POV a little differently than you are taking it. I mean “does he matter long term on the business and/or ice side of things”, not “does he matter toward us significantly winning immediately”.

    If the guy is only here for a year and is a “bridge” or stop gap because we have a hole in the line-up, and assuming we have the cap room and “cash budget” room, why not be willing to take a large salary?

    It’s only for a year. It doesn’t effect long term contracts with other guys (bringing in that salary doesn’t mean we don’t have enough to sign Kopitar or whoever next year). We have the cap space and in fact need to add salary just to make the floor. Clearly a 40yo vet with Cups isn’t going to be setting the standard for other contracts on our 20 something rooks.

    What is the real issue with overpaying in that situation?

    People complain about a lot of the FA signnings DL has made being overpriced guys and wastes of money, but how have any of them effected the long term? It’s not like Lubo or Cammi were traded because we can’t afford them and McCauley’s buyout. Yeah, I think money had something to do with both of those in once sense or another, but it’s not like those guys aren’t traded if we just hadn’t of signed those FAs and wasted that money. They are completely unrelated as far as I can see.

    I hear people complain about wasted money like that, but haven’t heard anything that explains how haivng not spent that money would mean cheaper tickets or being able to hold onto guys we had to rid of or anything of the kind. Mainly it seems like people are just upset we suck and complain about the team overspending on underachievers not as the root of the problem but as a particularly annoying aspect of it.

    When we’re in a position to add a guy at a high salary and it may mean not being able to sign a kid the next year or whatever, then you have to ask if that guy is worth it in terms of “putting us over the top”. Then it might be well worth it to risk lossing an asset. Here, we aren’t in that position and risk lossing pretty much nothing, so what would be the problem?

    Right now I’m looking at like this:

    Option 1, not going to win the Cup and will still be rebuilding, don’t add a veteran defender we need, don’t hit the cap floor for profit sharing.

    Option 2, not going to win the Cup and will still be rebulding, add the veteran at $5M+ for a single year to fill a hole we need to fill, hit the cap floor.

    Don’t see the big disadvantage to option 2. The arguement that he’s overpaid for a guy who has a single year left on the contract at a time when we aren’t strapped for cap space or budget and need to fill the short term hole sounds penny wise but pound foolish to me.

    If someone can explain how overpaying Schneider matters, I would gladly be willing to listen and change my mind, but I can’t see making the arguement for how it matters much.

    Even if you are looking to bring in two guys instead of one, the one year remaining at $5M+ is going to matter less for you than whatever contract you sign that second guy to (assuming that contract is longer than 1 year).

    If we’re talking long term, getting guys in as economically as possible makes sense to me. I just don’t see why it’s a significant deal if we’re talking about a one year situation at a time when we aren’t constrained by other factors (like having room for other guys, pushing the cap, etc.).

  • Micah

    “If someone can explain how overpaying Schneider matters, I would gladly be willing to listen and change my mind, but I can’t see making the arguement for how it matters much.”


    The only issue I have with Schneider vs. a FA is we have to trade something, to the Ducks, to get him, when there are FA’s out there that can serve as a mentor. I don’t care if we pay a 40 y/o $5 mill to be a mentor. I do care if we trade anything of value for him though, esp. to the Ducks, when it would be a favor to them to get Schneider off their books.

  • Duckhunter

    First off, my thoughts are not meant for argument purposes, but just that, my thoughts. You may enjoy the conflicting side of conversation, but I do not. I simply stated I would rather plug two holes with 5-6 million instead of one. I’m not hear to change your mind or convince you otherwise. My simple question is, can one guy(no matter who it is) be better than two at the same price, when there’s more than one hole to fill? Or are we going to spend that same amount on one guy, because we can?
    Another thing, I’m not one of those guys you’re referring to that complains about everything. I’m quite the opposite, I find myself defending on many fronts, for my team.

  • Captain Material


    Sorry if I sounded overly arguementative. I was just thinking and typing. Not trying to foist arguements on you that were not yours, just reflecting on what I’ve heard people say and trying to make sense. Wasn’t trying to attack you. I did think your first comment just saying Schneider was too expensive was kind of flawed considering everything, and but wasn’t trying to attack you. Sorry if it made you feel defensive, because that was not the intent.

    I do want to learn more and want to hear other ideas that make sense to synthesize my own thoughts with and so my own understanding can move forward, which is the essence of arguement in the classic sense, but not trying to attack you.

    I think it’s certainly possible to have one guy who’s better than two at the same price. You pose the question as completely hypothetical, so, sure, it’s possible. I think the position we are in is more influenced by availability (who is available) than anything else though. Considering who is available and what the cost is for them, I’m not sure how to answer that.

    I’m also not sure getting a guy with a large salary like Schneider on the kind of term remaining really impacts much your desire to get another guy. From my way of thinking on this, if we’re looking for one guy or two guys I really don’t think that rules out a salary like Schneider one way or the other or rules out a second guy if you do gain a large salary on sort term.


    Yeah, I’d agree. Everything just depends on what it costs to get someone. The Ducks are under pressure to move this particular guy so they can bring back Selanne. The Kings are looking at him and other guys and are aparently more likely to go the trade route than FAs (according to Rich). How those facts fall out is anybodys guess. I’m mainly just commenting on the list of guys that has been presented.

    I like McKee and Skrastins; don’t like Sydor and DeVries. Schneiders probably a better fit on the ice for us. That’s about the extent of what I have to comment on.

  • Anonymous

    Mr Hammond, you should really consider sueing Dwayne Kessel, aka Eklund.
    You are not the only one he has done this to, and I believe someone finally needs to teach him a lesson.

  • Greg

    Rich, it is up to the MSM to do something about the fraud. The majority of hockey fans are sick and tired of his BS.

    Many respected bloggers have tried, but until the MSM takes a stance, Dwayne will continue on.

  • jet

    Cap – do you really think that we would have to give up something for Schneider? I do not relly believe that NJ or the Canadians can take on the contract. I was thinking that we would pick up a fourth rounder for taking the contract.

  • Duckhunter

    Cap M, I’m not usually so sensitive, my panties must be a little to tight today. I’ve adjusted, I’m o.k. now

  • Eklund just publicly apologized to Rich.

  • Rich Hammond

    This situation has been resolved to my satisfaction. Thanks to everyone, as always, for your great support.

  • KingsCast Hockey Podcast

    That was very diplomatic, Rich! 🙂

    Well, that was all very entertaining. I’m sure you saw quite a few non-LA hits tonight. We had the thread on his site to over 1100 posts.

  • petey

    Sorry Rich but I just don’t buy that excuse from him. He was caught and he just can’t admit it.

  • The 16th Earl of Derby’s quip

    Take a breath, Kings fans. Open a window.

    Perhaps more of you should go for a skate; to burn some pent up energy.

    Too many people living in “reality TV,” and not in reality.

    To me, the Cup (for the Kings organization) will be not only half full, but overflowing with champagne, for years to come. Be patient.

    Let’s be fans, passionately rooting for the Kings, and not prosecutorial malcontents.

  • westcoastwingnut

    major props, rich…

    that being said, i’m glad that eck came correct and posted the link crediting you as the source of his “rumor”, which is how i found this post.

    the team that comes to mind with a glut of defensemen who could be had cheaply is detroit.

    too many bodies, not enough roster space plus impending cap headache necessitating a deal before the season opener.

    although kings fans may have mixed feelings on this, andreas lilja, brett lebda or derrick meech could be had for a pick. of those three, lilja is the best if you’re in the market for a physical defensemen, lebda has good wheels and some offensive upside, and meech can bang and also skate at the wing.

    say what you will about any of these guys, but lilja and lebda have playoff experience and with any luck lebs could dent the cup at a bar somewhere in malibu in a few years…i’m just sayin’. quincey could pan out, but i have a feeling he’s more in the wings plans for this season than kindl or abelkadner (sp) who might be available and could probably step in in the third pair on most nhl teams but are still honestly prospects for the wings. it was crowded before they resigned cheli, now even moreso.

    regardless…i root for the kings only after i root for the wings, and i’m hoping this season is not the same old tired BS from leiweike et al…tired of seeing has-beens flame out. i can still remember roenick bitching about not being selected to the olympics/world cup when he has less than 20 points at that point in the season…still, the huuuuge upside with kopitar, brown, o’sullivan and doughty makes me hope for big things. now, if the kings could get a goalie, i would have my hopes up!

    take care, and keep the great kings posts coming.

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully it is not McLaren who has bad knees and
    not much gas left in the tank. No more ex-Sharks

  • Anonymous

    You should know that the massive fraud known as “Eklund” plagiarized this entry:

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